1/9 NXT TV REPORT: Nikki Cross vs. Bianca Belair, EC3 vs Adam Cole, European Union squash, Gargano talks about ups and downs of 2018 then Ciampa joins him

By Justin James, PWTorch contributor


JANUARY 9, 2019

[Q1] Johnny Gargano starts the show in street clothes, and wishes us happy New Year. He acknowledges that 2018 had ups and downs. He gets a rather mixed reaction. He says that success in NXT is defined by wins and championships. He vows to get wins and become a champion in 2019. He brings up NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa then poo poos a #DIY chant. He says that the cage match moment was a one-time thing that won’t be repeated and that Ciampa is still a piece of trash with a championship he wants. He mentions there is another championship out there and says that after Ciampa mentioned that Gargano pursue it, NXT North American Champion Ricochet challenged him, and Gargano said that if he wants that championship, he’ll take it. As he rants, Ricochet comes out in a suit. Ricochet says that if Gargano just had to ask for a title opportunity. Ricochet asks if Gargano will take the championship face to face like a man, or after jumping him in a parking lot. Ricochet says that he will be leaving Takeover: Phoenix as the champion. They go eye to eye, and Ciampa comes out to talk from the ramp. Ciampa reiterates “wins and championships” and Gargano tells him to scram. Aleister Black’s music hits, and Ciampa nervously looks behind him. Black appears on the Tron, with smoke behind him. Black says that Ciampa should be more worried about him than his little dog of war then growls that he will make Ciampa fade to black. The arena goes dark and when the lights come back on, Black is behind Ciampa. They start brawling, then try to suplex each other on the annoucer booth. Ciampa hightails it out of there. Gargano uses the distraction to superkick Ricochet, drawing boos.

[ J.J.’s Reax: The crowd reaction is a mess here. People are highly entertained by Gargano and Ciampa and know that a heel #DIY reunion would be very good TV, so they cheer it, but it dilutes the fact that Ciampa is one of the biggest heels in the industry right now and Gargano is quickly getting there too. ]

Tweet from William Regal announcers that War Raiders will face NXT Tag Team Champions Undisputed Era for the title at Takeover: Phoenix.

[Q2] Bianca Belair is out to face Nikki Cross. This is the rubber match between the two.


The crowd is town between Cross and Belair. Belair paintbrushes Cross a few times, then Cross shoves her, crossbody. Hair whip from Belair. Cross takes her jacket and whips it around. Cross wants a schoolgirl, Belair blocks and bounces away. Some back-and-forth. Belair clears Cross off the apron with a forearm, but Cross trips her on the apron then traps her behind the skirt. Cross rolls Belair into the ring, heads to the top but an elbow from Belair stops the motion. Belair presses Cross off the top, then gorilla press slam, standing moonsault into a cover for two. Belair makes it look so effortless. Cover from Belair for another two count. Belair sets up an abdominal stretch but Cross tries to block, Belair locks it in anyways. Belair transitions from the stretch to a backbreaker for two. Cross counters a suplex attempt with a DDT, cover for two. They are slow to their feet, Cross delivers forearms then a crossbody into a choke on the mat. Cross lands a splash in the corner, then a bulldog. Cross hits a reverse DDT for two. Spear from Belair yields a two count. Belair looks perplexed. Big splash, but Cross gets knees up, hits The Purge but Belair rolls out of the ring. Cross tries a sleeper on the outside, Belair falls backwards onto the ramp then stumbles away. The referee (Jessika Carr) starts a ten count. They both barely beat the count. They are slow to their feet then move to a pure brawl. Belair posts herself, Cross with a rollup for a close nearfall. Forearm from Belair knocks Cross down but she is too exhausted to follow up and lands on the mat herself. Cross rolls to the ropes and pulls herself up, Belair drives shoulders into the corner. Belair puts Cross on the top turnbuckle then thinks superplex, Cross shoves her off, crossbody from the top, Belair dodges, KOD for the win.

WINNER: Bianca Belair at 10:44. Fine match to put the nail in the feud with Cross and give Belair the last of whatever prestige a win over Cross could have. This feud had cooled off too much for this match to mean much more than yet another win for Belair.

[Q3] EC3 is facing Adam Cole, presumably in the main event. The “European Union” (Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel, who just started teaming up on NXT UK) are up next.

Street Profits are outside. Angelo Dawkins is beatboxing and Montez Ford raps. They say that 2019 will be their year (in many more words than that). Good vignette to remind us that they exist, it will be good to see them back on NXT. They are billed for next week.


Barthel and Hunsman start. Watts tags in. Aichner in. Crazy popup from Aichner, Watts lands into a huracarana position, Aichner blocks. Watts in, rapid action. Double team from Aichner and Barthel. Watts tags in and tries to take it to Aichner and Barthel, but Barthel lawn darts him off the ropes to Aicher who catches him. Aichner powerbombs Watts into a suplex from Barthel for the win.

WINNERS: European Union in 4:36. Fine match all around, #ILikeAich and have been enjoying him on NXT UK. Barthel might grow on me in this team.

Cathy Kelley is in the parking lot next to a production truck. She says that Black and Ciampa have been removed from the arena. She sees Ricochet leaving, he’s angry. Ricochet is furious because he was giving Gargano a respectful opportunity and Gargano threw away that respect with a superkick, and vows that regardless of Gargano gets a title shot, he’s taking Gargano out.

Recap of the match between Kassius Ohno and Matt Riddle last week.

Interview with Keith Lee. He challenges Ohno to a match next week and promises to teach Ohno a lesson of respect, and will force Ohno to bask in his glory.


(3) EC3 vs. ADAM COLE (w/Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish)

Lockup, and extended wrestling. EC3 puts the brakes on forcing Cole to whiff a lepfrog, then EC3 sends Cole outside the ring. EC3 defies Undisputed Era to chase Cole outside the ring. Cole catches EC3 coming through the ropes with an enziguri then dropkicks EC3 into the steps. Cole starts to pick EC3 apart. EC3 suplexes Cole over the ropes back into the ring. Nigel McGuinnes mentions that EC3 is heading to the main roster. He demands that Cole “say my name bay-bay!”. Cole slips out of the one-percenter. McGuinnes calls EC3 “Mr. Melanin”. EC3 ducks the Last Shot, hits a clothesline for two. EC3 thinks suplex, Cole escapes, the suplex into the shoulderbreaker for two. Cole wants a cross arm breaker but EC3 locks his fingers. EC3 rolls over, one-arm powerbomb breaks Cole free. Undisputed Era distract the ref, attack EC3, then they duck out and Cole hits the Last Shot for the win.

WINNER: Adam Cole at 7:52. Not a great match. If this is EC3’s last match on NXT, it was not awesome.

Post-match, Undisputed Era give a beatdown to EC3, but the War Raiders’ music quickly hits and they run out to make the save. Hanson takes out Strong and O’Reilly in the ring, Rowe does the same for Cole and Fish outside the ring. Rowe and Hanson take over the ring and own it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Pretty lame episode tonight, other than the opening talking segment. Only three matches, and none stood out. What a sharp contrast to the absolutely fantastic live event I attended this weekend in Spartanburg, SC with my kids (who all loved it)!

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 1/2 NXT TV REPORT: Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno, Nominations for NXT 2018 Year-End Awards, Ricochet vs. Dream extended recap

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